Tuesday, July 13, 2010


As much of an irritant as George Steinbrenner was to all other Major League Baseball teams besides his own, I must say that I admired the guy as much as I loathed him.

Love them or hate them, the Yankees are a smart, well-run organization and have been this way through much of their history. In recent times, Steinbrenner played a big part in that.

I'm a Seattle Mariners fan, and I had the pleasure of watching the Yankees play the M's at Safeco Field on Sunday. The Yankees won 8-2, and it was nothing resembling a contest on the field, and I realized, off the field as well.

What fan wouldn't want their team owned by such a devoted fanatic with such focus and such deep pockets? He was despicable at times, but I have always envied the Yankees fans because George Steinbrenner looked after them all so very well.

I find myself wishing the Mariners franchise was run by such people as Steinbrenner. As it is, if the Mariners have a winning season it seems it is despite the higher-ups in the organization, not because of them.

I'm glad the current Seattle ownership stepped in and kept the team from moving to Indianapolis or wherever the last owner Jeff Smulyan wanted to take them. It is very nice that Nintendo's Mr. Yamuchi gives the Mariners a decent payroll. And while I find myself wishing the current ownership stays the same, I also wish Yamuchi would step in and do something to take the franchise in a more aggressive direction.

Like Steinbrenner did with the Yankees.

I am proud to be a Mariner fan despite the general history of losing. Seattle is always my team, has been since they started, and will be until I'm gone.

But I can say there are a few other franchises I am jealous of... The Yankees are definitely one of those.

Of course some of the disparity between the M's and the Yankees is due to the latter's rich history and deep pockets, but it seems to me the two organizations take different approaches to things. One is aggressive, on the attack all the time, thoroughly focused. The Mariners? Well, I find it frustrating and disappointing sometimes that things seem so mellow and nice in the Emerald City.

The money disparity between the Yankees and other teams is obvious. But some of it also seems like the higher-ups in Yankee World want to take the rest of baseball by the short hairs... the Yankees are relentless and they are focused. Steinbrenner demanded perfection, and while such demands led to absurdities such as his firing of one manager four times, he resuscitated the Yankees franchise.

I want my team to be elevated, to get to that next step. And to that end, I believe the addition of some pride and swagger would be helpful.

Is Mark Cuban really interested in buying the Texas Rangers? If he is, look out. If he becomes the principal owner of that ball club, he will be thoroughly despised by the rest of the baseball world, as Steinbrenner was. And I believe this is because if he becomes owner, he will take an extremely aggressive approach and transform that franchise into a perennial winner.

Where will the Mariners be in five years? Still trying to be a winner despite the higher-ups in the organization? Things are kind of stagnant in the Emerald City.

Team President Chuck Armstrong and CEO Howard Lincoln are the ones who basically run the show. They have put the kibosh on numerous trades and suggested directions for the team to take. At least they hired a General Manager with some smarts in Jack Zduriencik a couple of years ago to clean up the mess left by former GM Bill Bavasi. "Z" has made a few great trades and signings, and he has had a few duds. If nothing else, he has a history as a good player-development guy who knows how to draft and develop young players. But in order for him to do his best, I believe he needs to have higher-ups who will simply turn him loose, not tie his hands.

If the M's don't have someone as abrasive (or sometimes freakish) as Steinbrenner in charge, I would at least like to see some people with a take-no-prisoners attitude running this show.

Mariner fans deserve to experience the approach in ownership and front-office management that Yankee fans have come to know and love over the last 30 years.

I'd say "Rest in peace, George Steinbrenner", but wherever he is, he is probably not resting and he is probably not peaceful. Neither ever seemed to have been in his nature.

So instead I'll say, "Keep giving 'em hell, George... wherever you are!"


Blogger T. Paine said...

Being a Mariners fan also, I couldn't agree more, Snave. Extremely well said, sir.

My hope is that the Trailblazers will have that focus and drive next year too in their pursuit of a NBA title.

With Paul Allen being a devoted fan with deep pockets, one would think this is possible too, despite Allen's lack of fire when compared to MLB's Steinbrenner.

10:02 AM  
Blogger Dave Splash said...

As a Yankees fan, I, too, have something of a love/hate relationship with Steinbrenner. It's hard to argue with 11 AL pennants and 7 World Series, but he has done some seriously questionable things.

Still, how many sports owners could become a semi-regular character on a TV show (like Steinbrenner did on Seinfeld), even being played by someone else?

The guy was a character.

10:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


5:17 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Not being a sports fan, I just remember George Steinbrenner as the Larry David role on Seinfeld.

Maureen Dowd even had a column the other day about the interaction between Steinbrenner (the real one) and Larry David, Jason Alexander and Jerry Seinfeld.

2:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


7:55 PM  
Blogger Demeur said...

At the rate the Mariners are going they'll be the Oklahoma Lightning in five years. Sorry but I just lost interest in the team. They seem to be more of a farm club for the rest of the majors.

12:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


5:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


10:24 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

One thing about the Stienbrenner and the Yanks is that you always knew that their plan was to win the WS. Not play .500 or make the playoffs or some such nonsense. But to win and win the big one each and every year. Other owners talk the talk, but Stienbrenner walked the walk. I'm an A's fan and our history, from as far back as 100 years ago under Mack, is to build a team, make a run at the WS, then fade off and rebuild again. Of course the time between the 1929/30 team and the 72 team meant decades of "rebuilding".

12:59 AM  
Blogger Snave said...

The Mariners will be back, but probably not until year after next.

The kid they got from the Rangers in the Lee trade (1B Justin Smoak) will be good. The other players they got in that trade have good upside, are currently in AA ball... and one (the starting pitcher Beavan) could be up with the M's next season, in the rotation.

It is likely that Dustin Ackley will be up from the minors to play 2B or OF next season. He is a fast learner at all stops in the minors so far, and after being the first round draft pick for the M's a year ago he is already making his mark in AAA.

Starting pitcher Michael Pineda should be in the Mariners' rotation next season. He is another one progressing rapidly through their system.

Free agent 3B/2B Chone Figgins has been something of a bust, and so has 1B signee Casey Kotchman. Milton Bradley has been a dud in LF and at DH. But next year, look for the Mariners to re-sign Russell Branyan to be the DH, and for them to use Justin Smoak at 1B.

Also look for them to move Jose Lopez, which will allow Figgins to return to his natural position at 3B while Ackley moves in at 2B.

This will leave the addition of some hitting from the catcher position, possibly the addition of some hitting from LF (although young Michael Saunders is developing nicely there), and possibly finding a better hitter to play SS for a year or two.

They are going to need some better relief pitching as well, but again, there are a few people in the minors who may be up with the M's in the near future, and who will be useful players.

It isn't all gloom and doom for Mariners fans, because this time there is actually a plan in place for the rebuild. The team is still lousy on the field now, and part of that is due to the General Manager (Jack Zduriencik) putting all his eggs in the "pitching and defense first" basket without having a backup plan for "what if all the hitters stop hitting, and all at once"? But what Zduriencik was trying to do was keep the team competitive during the process of rebuilding. It was a gamble that did not pay off in the win-loss column this season.

In the meanwhile, he now has two good drafts under his belt. The Mariners minor league system is resurgent. In a couple more years, it will be brimming with prospects. And when the team is contending, some of the prospects can be turned into the veteran role players the team needs in order to get to the playoffs and win pennants.

The Mariners won't win the AL West in 2011. But things are looking pretty darned good for 2012!

2:17 PM  
Blogger Snave said...

Mr. Paine, I share your hopes re. the Blazers! There is talk of Chris Paul including the Blazers on his list of teams to which he wouldn't mind being traded. Portland has some expiring contracts that other teams would like to have for salary cap purposes, plus some young players other teams might want.

I'm not excited about the Blazers trading Nic Batum, because I believe he is the next Clyde Drexler... and Batum has been mentioned as one Blazer the Hornets would probably like to have in any Paul deal. Hmmmm...

2:21 PM  
Blogger Snave said...

I know what you mean, Demeur. I have been a Mariners fan since 1979...

But first I like to remind myself that while there have been some good players who have left Seattle, not all are of the caliber of Griffey, A-Rod or Randy Johnson. Then there will be some who are decent, like Adrian Beltre, Shin-Soo Choo, Mike Cameron, Matt Thornton, Raul Ibanez and Jamie Moyer, and some who could end up being good, like maybe Brandon Morrow.

But for every one of those there are a couple of other former Mariners who aren't cutting it... guys like Jeff Clement, Gil Meche, Yuniesky Betancourt, Freddy Garcia, Mike Morse, George Sherrill, Ronny Cedeno, Emiliano Fruto, the popular outfielder kid from Australia who had limitless potential but was hurt all the time, etc.

I think that in the long run, it pretty much balances out. Not all players automatically "do better once they are out of Seattle", as some will say. A number of them do, but I am not sure how much that has to do with the Seattle front office.

The blog Pro Ball NW has a fun article about this. I don't know how to write it as a link to click on, but here is the site:


I don't think the Mariners will be moving from Seattle any time soon. They just need to weather the down years this season and probably next, and then I think things will get better.

2:31 PM  
Blogger Snave said...

Right on, Joe... the Mariners have been building, rebuilding, building and rebuilding some more and with a few playoff appearances more or less showing up as blips on the radar.

There isn't much "talk" from Mariners ownership. Not much talk for them to even be walking... I think a good deal of their difficulties lies with the attitude/approach of ownership, coupled with the aimless approach of CEO Howard Lincoln and team president Chuck Armstrong.

If they will let the new GM Jack Zduriencik do his job, I think they will all be sitting pretty in the next 2-3 years.

2:34 PM  
Blogger Snave said...

Dave and Tom, I actually never watched much Seinfeld, and may now have to seek out that legendary episode! 8-)

2:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


7:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

傻氣的人喜歡給心 雖然每次都被笑了卻得到了別人的心..................................................................

5:51 PM  

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